Located in Peoria among residential areas, is the Peoria Sunrise Mountain Preserve. There are a series of low-elevation mountains in the area, from East Wing to West Wing to the Thunderbird Mountains. None of these mountains are above 2,000’. However, all of them offer some decent hiking.
Peoria Sunrise is a good place for an easy day hike. It is wide enough to allow for up to a 5-mile loop. It isn’t as popular as many of the urban hiking spots in Phoenix. However, don’t expect to be hiking alone on a weekend.
There are a few minor summits along the ridgetop, eventually winding up to the highest point at 1,850’. That is called Sunrise Mountain.
Although there are trails along Happy Valley Road to the south, there is no parking there, so the mountain must be accessed from the north. This requires a longer approach. However, it is still only about 2 miles to the summit.
Hiking along the ridge in the Peoria Sunrise Mountain Preserve
Hiking in the Peoria Sunrise Mountain Preserve can be done year-round. Although it is recommended to hike it very early in the morning in the summer. The best time to hike in this area is between November and March.
From the 101 Freeway take Exit 17 for Beardsley Road and take it to 83rd Avenue/Lake Pleasant Parkway. 83rd Avenue splits after a third of a mile. Take it all the way past Happy Valley Road. Once at Happy Valley Road, the road continues past the Peoria Sunrise Mountain Preserve, and then curves to the left. After two miles the trailhead is on the other side of the road. Just pop a U-turn at Black Rock Road.
The Sunrise Mountain Trail gradually heads south up into the hills for the first mile. There are offshoots from the main trail along the way. However, after about a mile, the trail splits. The left fork goes around Sunrise Mountain’s lower west summit (Pt. 1825). The right fork goes up to the summit of the West Peak. Either way is enjoyable.
Both ways lead to the same saddle between the lower west summit and the main summit. The two are separated by less than half a mile.
You can reach both summits in a mile and three quarters of hiking, with an elevation gain of about 650’. However, there are plenty of other trails, and it is possible to hit all three summits (including the lower southwest summit) in a loop just over five miles. It should be noted that only Sunrise Mountain is prominent.
Walking towards the final summit
There is no red tape in particular. Dogs need to be on leashes. Avoid hiking in the heat of summer. Watch out for snakes if weather conditions are right. Details are here